Soccer: Leeds CEO compares transfer levy, regulator calls to Maoism

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Leeds United v Leicester City - Elland Road, Leeds, Britain - November 7, 2021 Leeds United corner flag is seen with poppies as part of remembrance commemorations before the match. REUTERS/Craig Brough

(Reuters) - Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear has compared calls for a transfer levy and an independent regulator to Maoism and the Great Chinese Famine, adding that the recommendations would not make English football any fairer.

A transfer levy on top-flight clubs and appointment of an independent regulator for the English game were among 47 recommendations made by a fan-led review of football governance published last week.

Writing in his programme notes before Leeds' 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Tuesday, Kinnear said he supported the other recommendations but the two were "as flawed as they are radical".

"Enforcing upon football a philosophy akin to Maoist collective agriculturalism (which students of 'The Great Leap Forward' will know culminated in the greatest famine in history) will not make the English game fairer, it will kill the competition which is its very lifeblood," he said.

Millions died of starvation during the 1958-61 Great Leap Forward, a failed attempt at rapid industrialization.

Kinnear added that the proposed redistribution of funds might end up rewarding poor governance in lower league football.

"Teams further down the pyramid do not need their means artificially inflated, they need to live within them," he said.

"Clubs who excel in recruitment, player development or commercial enterprise will be punished, while less capable ownership will be rewarded for incompetence."

Kinnear's comments were criticised by pundit Gary Neville, who has championed the appointment of an independent regulator.

"Anyone remember when Leeds United were in the Championship sweating like crazy over their own financial state if they didn't go up?" Neville said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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